Troops have been deployed after a cyclone swept across Russia's Far East, cutting off power and paralysing traffic
Three children sledging from the roof of a warehouse in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, on the Far Eastern Sakhalin Island, died after they were buried in snow, the Interfax news agency reports.Four people also died of exposure in Moscow, where temperatures plunged to -27 degrees Celsius (-16 F). Soldiers rescued drivers who got stuck in the snowstorms. In all, 297 people have frozen to death in the capital this cold season, according to city health authorities.
In the Pacific port of Vladivostok, the military sent out armoured personnel carriers to help tow trolley buses, trucks and other vehicles stranded on slick roads. At least four people were injured in accidents caused by the snow and poor visibility, police said. Power in the city and surrounding areas was cut off for hours Tuesday after snow stuck to power lines, causing them to snap in the strong winds. Up to 40cm fell in Vladivostok over the course of the day, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported. In outlying villages, the snowfall was up to 50cm. "It is a unique event, when in the space of 12 hours we have double the (monthly) average (of snow)," said Boris Kubai, head of the Primorye regional weather center. "It is the first such case in 50 years." The blocked roads meant many had to walk to work Tuesday, and highways in the Vladivostok region were closed to passenger traffic. Bus companies also halted service for safety reasons. Passenger cars, many used imports from nearby Japan, spun their wheels in the snow and skidded.